Thursday, November 27, 2008

How Obama Won - Excerpt from Chapter 19

Not Black President Obama, Just President Obama

The instant that Obama tossed his hat in the presidential rink in February 2007 the twin mantra was that he could be the first black to be president and if that happened America had finally kicked its race syndrome. The twin mantra was repeated ad infinitum, and it was dead wrong about Obama and the presidency. The early hint that race was overblown and over obsessed came from Obama. He didn’t talk about it. For good reason, he was not running as a black presidential aspirant. He was running as a presidential aspirant. He had to make that crucial distinction for personal and political purposes.

The ritual preface of the word “black” in front of any and every achievement or breakthrough that an African-American makes is insulting, condescending and minimizes their achievement. It maintains and reinforces the very racial separation that much of America claims it is trying to get past. Dumping the historic burden of race on blacks measures an individual’s success or failure by a group standard.

That’s a burden whites don’t have. They succeed or fail solely as individuals.
Obama’s personal history--his bi-racial parents, his upbringing, his education, and his relative youth-- defied racial pigeonholing.

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